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Talk about serving your audience on Facebook.

Couple that with capitalizing on customer interests and an upcoming holiday and it’s hard to deny that  T.G.I. Friday’s® has a winner on its hands with the new Buy a Beer App.

As someone who is constantly encouraging clients to push the envelope with   Facebook and brainstorming  new ideas to get them motivated, I enjoy learning about new endeavors and following their success. It keeps me on my toes, expands my thinking and keeps the ideas flowing.

So, I just couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging what I believe is a great idea. Here is a blurb from their official press release:

Any Facebook user 21 years and older can buy their Facebook friends up to five beers simply by “liking” the Friday’s fan page and placing an order through the custom tab. Recipients receive an electronic gift card to redeem in restaurant. The purchase price is set at $5, regardless of the recipient’s regional location, and is redeemable for any beer of choice, non-alcoholic beverage or food item at any local T.G.I. Friday’s.

You can absolutely argue that this isn’t rocket science. But who says it has to be? I’m sure that T.G.I. Friday’s will generate a lot of buzz and grow its fan base with this one, which I’m sure is one of their goals.

Right now, the T.G.I. Friday’s Facebook fan page has 580,370 likes. I plan to check back in a few weeks to see how they’ve fared.

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It is so easy to read through your favorite blog posts and chime in with a cursory comment such as: “Spot on,” “great post,” “I agree with you 100%” and “Me too.”

The same goes for online communities and forums.  While I enjoy reading the actual posts, sometimes the best content is in the comments. It’s the different perspectives and point-of-view that add value while also introducing you to people you may not have otherwise come in contact with.

I can recall a time when I was a very active commenter on my favorite blogs. It comes in waves now based on my workload but I always strive to post something of value. So whenever you see one of my comments, you better believe that I thought about my words before posting them and felt like I had something worth adding.

As a community manager, you come to value comments in a way that is indescribable. I’m sure that bloggers feel that way too. But when you are charged with growing a community, you truly associate the comment with the person’s time. You see the direct correlation because you are painfully aware of the fact that there  are so many choices online and you’re grateful that for that moment, you were one of their choices.

Comments yield opportunities  

Another reason to be smart about your comments is that you never know who is reading. I’ve gotten great opportunities from comments. It’s nice to get an email from someone indicating that they read your comment on  a post and they’d like to interview you for a story or connect with you in some other way. It happens all the time, so you’re actually helping yourself when you do this.

Posting thoughtful comments isn’t hard to do, but it’s much easier when you care about the topic or feel some sort of emotion as a result of what you just read. But even if that emotion is lacking, you can still add quality to the conversation beyond “Spot on” and the others mentioned above.

If you want to get started on improving the quality of your comments, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Post a different perspective with no intention of starting a fight
  • Explain why you agree with the author
  • Always post more than one sentence
  • Quote exactly what you liked and add a bit about why it struck you
  • Encourage the author to write more and tell them what you’d like to see discussed next
  • Offer new ideas

I recognize that some of these tips may be painfully obvious, but if they really were, I think we’d see many more thoughtful comments. And if you’re on the receiving end of those comments, be sure to express some gratitude and thank people for their time.

Remember, they could be anywhere else on the web, and the fact that they are with you is something you have to learn to appreciate.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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